Home > BLOG 5, Crisis Communication > Communication and Resilience.

Communication and Resilience.

One of the first things to note about disasters, is just because they occur in one area does not mean that they automatically bring people together, though they can.

A disaster does not immediately equal community resilience.

One of the first steps to understanding this is to look at the general definitions within the concepts and theories.

COMMUNITY: “Not always, but typically, a community is an entity that has geographical boundaries and shared fate. Communities are composed of built, natural, social, and economic environments that influence one another in complex ways.”

DISASTER:  “A potentially traumatic event that is collectively experienced, has an acute onset, and is time delimited; disasters may be attributed to natural, technological or human causes.”

RESILIENCE: “A capacity for successful adaptation in the face of disturbance, stress, or adversity”

One of the first points that Norris makes clear is:

Discussions of community resilience often note that the ‘whole is more than the sum of its parts’, meaning that a collection of resilient individuals does not guarantee a resilient community

Social support seems to me one of the best communication strategies that help community resilience. Because social support embeds people into a “web of social relationships perceived to be loving, caring, and readily available in times of need”.

There are two different types of support:

Received support-actual receipt of help and Perceived support– belief that help would be available if needed.

These supports vary in two dimensions:

THE FIRST DIMENSION TYPE: The graphic pattern of pyramid showing its different foundations is helpful in understanding how social support works. From family to friends, neighbors to even coworkers.

THE SECOND DIMENSION TYPE: Shows the differences between emotional, informational, and tangible support.

However, when applying this to a disaster  received support and perceived support MUST balance each other out. If you are constantly receiving support it can threaten self-esteem, and if you are constantly being to provider you may find yourself stressed out and even burdened.


Another important part of social support is social influence. This means that people look to others that are similar then them to make decisions. This is called “emergent norms”. People base what they feel is appropriate behavior on social ties.

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